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CHAP.

366                HISTORY OF PERSIA
restitution was never made. The factors left Resht, and
thus ended in failure the second attempt to trade with
Persia across Russia, although as in the case of the earlier
venture our annals are enriched by the achievements of
Englishmen such as Hanway, Elton, and Woodroofe, who
won fame as explorers and pioneers.
The Naval Ambitions of Nadir Shah.óNo better
illustration can be found of the influence of physical con-
ditions on character than the invincible repugnance to the
sea which the Persians, who are cut off from it by mountain
barriers, have always shown, a repugnance which is as
strong to-day as when Hafiz gave up his voyage to India,
Nadir Shah deserves credit for being the first monarch of
Persia who realized the value of a fleet, and his naval policy
was strenuously supported by Jhis Admiral of the Coast,
although that officer, when appointed, had never seen a
ship. In January 1743, Elton was appointed Chief Naval
Constructor and given the title of Jamal Beg.1
Not content with merely building ships, Elton, under
the instructions of his royal master, surveyed the east coast
of the Caspian as far north as Cheleken Island.2 Nadir's
plan was to keep in check the Turkoman pirates and to
strengthen the claims of Persia along this coast by the
establishment of a fortified position. Moreover, he hoped
by means of a fleet to be able to supply his troops when
operating against the Lesghians, and, as Hanway puts it,
cc the ambition of sharing the trade and Sovereignty of the
CASPIAN might also be a concurring inducement.1'
Elton was a genius. Making his headquarters at
Langar Rud, the port of Lahijan, in a pestilential climate,
he set to work to overcome all difficulties. Timber was
hewn and brought down to the coast; sail-cloth was woven
of cotton, and cords were twisted'from flax. Anchors, not
being procurable locally, were fished for. The local
population, working without pay, was bitterly hostile to
the new forced labour, but Elton, with only one English
carpenter, a few Russians, and a few Indians, launched
1 The Turki form is "Gemal," and it must be remembered that Turki was
Nadir's mother-tongue.
3 Captain Woodroofe's interesting account is given in Hanway, i. 130-38. On
p. 161, Nadir's plans are set forth and reference is made to the energy displayed by Elton.